Sunday, December 8, 2019

Making Chocolate Truffles for Christmas and Homemade Vanilla Extract

It's that time of year when we are frantically putting together our cookie plates for friends and family. It doesn't need to be frantic. And, if you have children, this is a perfect activity for them to help with.

This year I made four different truffles. 

1. Peanut Butter covered in dark semi-sweet chocolate. 
2. Oreo covered in white chocolate.
3. Chocolate Orange covered in cocoa powder.
4. Irish Cream covered in dark chocolate.

For the Peanut Butter Truffles you will need the following:

2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/3 cups peanut butter (smooth or chunk, your preference)
2/3 cup rice krispies 
6 TBS butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (that big bottle in the photo is my vanilla, I                 will share the recipe with you later in this post)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Place the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix together until combined. I use a small teaspoon size cookie dough scoop to form mine, but you can simply roll rounded teaspoons of the mix into round balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you are going to dip in melted chocolate, put them in your freezer to firm up for about 30 minutes. If you are rolling in something else, just roll away. Then chill in your fridge until firm about 20-30 minutes. They are best served chilled.

You can choose to cover your truffles in a variety of coverings...some suggestions are:

simply roll them in cocoa powder or confectioners sugar
dip them in melted chocolate or roll them in crushed peanuts.
You can get fancy with some crushed nuts on top of your chocolate covered ones. Sprinkles are always pretty. Look through your cupboard and use your imagination. Sky is the limit.

Everyone will love these. Make sure the recipient knows they are peanut, we don't want any allergic episodes at Christmas time. 

                                              * * * 

The next one is the Oreo Cookie Truffles, covered in white chocolate. Only three ingredients!

You will need:

1 (14 oz) package of Oreo  Cookies
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups of white chocolate for dipping

Use your food processor to crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Reserve a spoonful of crumbs to decorate the tops later. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until evenly combined.

Scoop the mixture and form small balls. Place them on a parchment or wax paper lined tray, and freeze until slightly hardened, about 30-40 minutes. 

Melt your white chocolate in a double boiler or in your microwave.
I use a double boiler that I make by placing a temperature safe bowl over a sauce pot of boiling water. I turn the water down to simmer and stir frequently until it is the consistency I want for dipping.  Then take your frozen truffles and one at a time, dip them with a fork and use the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate from the bottom and place them back on the tray. While still warm, drop a pinch of the reserved crumbs on the top for decoration.

Back in the fridge to firm up. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to gift.

* * *                                       

Chocolate Orange Truffles are next.  You will need the following:

1/4 cup of butter
3 TBS of heavy cream
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chop if you are using a block of chocolate)
2 TBS orange liqueur 
1 tsp fresh grated orange zest

In a small sauce pan combine butter and cream, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and still in 4 oz of chocolate, orange liqueur and the orange zest. Stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill in your refrigerator until firm, about 2-3 hours.

Scoop your chilled truffle mixture by the teaspoonful and roll into balls, place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, and chill until firm. Roll in sifted cocoa powder. Keep chilled until serving, may wish to roll in cocoa powder again, just before serving.

* * *

Irish Cream Truffles are just as easy to make. You will need:

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBS Irish Cream
1 TBS butter
pinch of salt
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate.

Bring your cream to a boil, add the Irish cream, butter, salt and chocolate. Mix until smooth. Again, pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until firm, 2-3 hours. 

Scoop your chilled truffle mixture by the teaspoonful and roll into balls, place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, and chill until firm. Roll in sifted cocoa powder. Keep chilled until serving, may wish to roll in cocoa powder again, just before serving.

You can also coat them in melted dark chocolate or white chocolate, or roll in nuts or confectioner sugar.  The options are endless.

* * *


A few facts about vanilla to begin with.Vanilla extract has the same alcohol by volume that vodka does. It is required by law that vanilla extract have at least 35% alcohol by volume.You pay an exorbitant price for those tiny bottles. Orange extract is 80% alcohol by volume! You don't drink Vanilla Extract, you cook with it, just like any other extract, the alcohol cooks out. It does not violate the Word of Wisdom.

Okay, with that cleared up for all my Sister's out there, here is how you make your own vanilla.

Buy the cheapest vodka that you can find. It will say 80 proof, 40% alcohol by volume right on the label.  I purchase two bottles and use one for my vanilla and the other to refill the vanilla as I use it. Of course you can get yourself a simple mason jar to make your vanilla in or a fancy one that you think it pretty. Doesn't matter.

I get my Vanilla beans online through Ebay. I purchase grade B Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans. They work just fine and they are cheaper. Cut your vanilla bean pod long ways, you want to slit it right in half.  Use a sharp pointy knife insert in one end and just cut right down the length of it. You don't have to be neat.  The little black vanilla seeds are inside the pod. It's not necessary to scrape the seeds out. Put the two pieces you have just cut into your bottle of vodka...continue like this until you have inserted about 12-15 
pods. That's it. Now, put it on the counter where you will see it everyday. Everytime you walk by it, give the bottle a good shake. Do this for 30 days. You will have the most amazing vanilla to bake with at a fraction of the price.  You can experiment with different types of vanilla beans, they are all different. For baking I like the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean as it has that pungent vanilla aroma that I love.  

Don't toss out your used vanilla beans, just keep topping it off and add more beans if you like. It only gets better with age!

If you want to give your vanilla as gifts, you can find inexpensive bottles through your Pharmacist.  YES! that's right!  Who'd a thunk it? Or you can purchase them in bulk online. Add a pretty label and you have a really lovely present for anytime!


I hope you have enjoyed these recipes! John and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season.


  1. I love your posts. I'm usually on fb so I don't comment here often but wanted to thank you for the recipes.